While many schools across the state and country remain concerned about kids falling behind during the pandemic, one Deer Valley school is doing so well that its students have moved up to the next grade level.
“Even with all of the challenges of opening a new school during a pandemic, The Traditional Academy of Bellair students are thriving,” says Principal Vivian Hunt.
This traditional school located near the Glendale/Phoenix border at 51st Avenue and Union Hills has a unique curriculum that allows teachers to accelerate instruction. Students, who were ready, started one year ahead of their current grade level in January.
Kindergarten, first, second, and third grade teachers were able to accelerate the entire class to the next grade level curriculum in math by fourth quarter. Many of the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students have accelerated beyond their grade level as well.
“The growth has been phenomenal, and our students are so proud of themselves,” says Hunt.
First grade teacher Jane Oura credits students and their families with the high academic achievement this year.
“My students are motivated and active participants in their learning and have the full and active support of their families,” says Oura.
Parents agree that students at this school are eager to learn and get ahead. One mom says her children definitely needed the challenge and acceleration that The Traditional Academy at Bellair offers.
“My children come home happy to report when they have excelled in a certain area, improved and grown in another, challenged some of their peers in friendly competitions, and have been recognized for their accomplishments. They have a new level of pride in their school work,” says parent Troi Armendariz.
In addition to strong parent involvement, the daily classroom routine at The Traditional Academy of Bellair includes small group and individualized instruction in targeted skill areas that need more support.
“The best part of teaching here is the warm, inviting, and supportive environment. Plus, a rigorous curriculum helps develop critical thinking skills necessary for success now and in the future,” says Oura.
Speaking about future opportunities, Principal Hunt says that students who are excelling by learning above their grade level will have many doors open for them.
“Down the road, this will give them a head start to the high schools and colleges of their choice. Their hard work now will pay off in dividends as they move through life with confidence and a mindset of success,” says Hunt.
“We feel so fortunate that our children were able to be part of The Traditional Academy this past year,” says Armendariz.
Despite a year full of surprises, this new school has been able to create a culture where students are motivated to learn.
“The biggest surprise has really been watching how quickly new students have been able to acclimate to the new curriculum and grow by leaps and bounds in their new environment,” says Hunt.